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Coronavirus scare: Hyderabad aero show restricted to ‘business event’

The organisers have also disallowed the entry of children under the age of 12 years to the show.

Written by Rahul V Pisharody | Hyderabad |
Updated: March 10, 2020 7:35:51 pm
Till date, as many as 41,102 passengers have been screened at RGI Airport in Hyderabad for novel coronavirus. (Express archive photo)

Amid the prevailing coronavirus scare, the biennial Hyderabad aero show or ‘Wings India’ event, which was scheduled to begin on March 12 at Begumpet Airport, has now been restricted to a business event. This means that the four-day flagship event of the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) will not have specific days dedicated for the general public to visit.

The organisers have also disallowed the entry of children under the age of 12 years to the show. Besides, thermal scanners are being installed at the access points at Begumpet Airport as a large number of foreigners are expected to participate in the event.

A tweet from the MoCA read, “Addressing the need of business opportunities, Wings (India2020) will be organising focussed panel discussions on important issues including the impact of COVID-19 on Civil Aviation. State representatives to have interactions with airlines for promoting destinations in one to one meetings.”

As per the earlier schedule, March 12 and 13 were meant for business events and March 14-15, the weekends, for visit of the general public.

When asked why could the event not be postponed, an official told indianexpress.com that various participants and international delegates had blocked the dates for the event several months in advance and the situation was such that the event is either held or cancelled, and the organisers went ahead with the event with enhanced precautionary measures in place.

Though a few aircraft manufacturers, operators, and service providers have expressed their concerns, the aero show is expected to see the likes of Honda, Embraer, Boeing, Qatar airways, Bell helicopter, HAL aircraft, Diamond Aircraft, and Airbus, etc on static display.

Though the event starts on March 12, the formal inaugural session will be held on March 13. The panel will see the participation of Minister of State (independent charge) for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri, Telangana IT and Industries Minister K T Rama Rao, and others.

Telangana govt eyes aviation infrastructure boost

According to sources, Rao is keen on expediting the works regarding setting up of six new airports in the Telangana and is likely to take up the matter with the Union minister Hardeep Puri. Currently, the state government has hired the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to prepare a techno-feasibility report on these six proposed airports and a report is awaited in two months. The proposed sites are in Warangal, Kothagudem, Adilabad, Nizamabad, Mahabubnagar and Karimnagar districts.

The Telangana government is also expected to sign an MoU on its ambitious seaplanes project. The state government is expected to showcase the effective use of drones in day-to-day affairs through a drone show, for the first time. It wants to also use the platform to attract businesses to its ambitious heli-tourism and temple-tourism projects by introducing new routes.

Governments of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Gujarat, etc will have their stalls apart from those from various private companies airport services, charter services, and ground services, etc. “Bell 505 helicopter and airbus and Airbus A350 will be the highlight. We will have a lot of B2B meetings between States, airline operators, manufacturers, aerospace and defence sectors, etc. All precautionary measures in the wake of coronavirus spread are being taken. The entry passes are kept at Rs 500, in case the general public wants to visit. But unlike previous editions, we do not have dedicated days for the general public,” VN Bharat Reddy, director-Aviation, the Government of Telangana, told indianexpress.com.

Besides a static display of various commercial, business, cargo, and charter aircraft, around 150 to 200 stalls are also being installed by different participants. An aerobatic display by the British aerobatic champion (Advanced & Unlimited) Mark Jefferies and team and also by the Sarang team, the helicopter display team of the Indian Air Force, is also on the cards for all four days.

Telangana had tested one positive case of coronavirus on March 1 and the patient is fast recovering at the isolation ward of Gandhi Hospital.

Till date, as many as 41,102 passengers have been screened at RGI Airport in Hyderabad for novel coronavirus. 493 asymptomatic persons are in home quarantine whereas 239 symptomatic patients have been tested negative. Results of 21 persons are awaited as the lone positive patient is ready for discharge soon.

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